Office of Ethics
United States Department of Agriculture

Participation in Non-USDA Publications

Ethics Advisors often receive questions from scientists regarding editing or writing book chapters. Most often, the scientist wishes to do this as part of his or her official duties. Following are requirements for you to consider should you wish to participate in preparing non-USDA publications on official time.

1.    The Area Director must approve an ARS employee's use of official time to edit or write official materials for textbooks, monographs, manuals, or other non-USDA publications. Approval is based on the following:

  • Publication is within the scope of his or her official duties.
  • Employee's advance request to the Area Director (AD) for permission to undertake the work on official Government time.
  • Project would help discharge the information obligation of ARS.
  • No compensation from sources outside ARS will be accepted for project. Please note: Government employees may NOT request that royalties be given to a specific nonprofit organization. Employees MAY ONLY request that royalties be donated to a nonprofit organization of the publisher's choice.

2.    The material must be cleared by:

  • AD for technical accuracy.
  • If the material interprets the policies of the USDA, deals with sensitive issues or programs, or needs to be cleared by other departments or agencies, it shall be submitted to the Information Staff. In turn, the Information Staff will evaluate and, if necessary, forward to Office of Communications for final clearance.


For further information, please contact the ARS Information Staff on 301/504-1636 or contact the Ethics Advisor servicing your area/location.